By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent November 9, 2012 7:30PM
Dr. Brian Hold is pictured in his Valparaiso, Ind., chiropractic office on Oct. 31, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 13, 2012 10:15AM
In April, Dr. Brian Hold began going to New Creations Men’s Center in Valparaiso to help homeless men in a different way — chiropractic house calls.
With the center’s winter hours, Hold sees the men in his office at 259 Indiana Ave., but he was the first medical professional to come to them, said center Manager James Hill.
Hold is also the first chiropractor Hill knows of to donate adjustments.
“I thought it was a great idea for the guys,” Hill said. “They say it’s doing them good. If it’s making them feel better, I can’t argue with it.”
Most people wouldn’t think about the homeless needing chiropractic care, but Hold hasn’t been typical since starting Hoosier Chiropractic in Valparaiso in October 2011.
His business has no set rates. Instead, he uses a drop box outside his office and asks that people pay what they believe his service is worth.
Many people ask, “Is that for real?” But after seeing practices that treated patients merely as fees, Hold said he wanted a patient-oriented business where he could treat people regardless of ability to pay.
“I feel like I have to earn my pay every visit,” he said.
Hold’s introductory forms state that Valparaiso’s median price for chiropractic services is $47.50, but he’s rented the “smallest office possible” instead of having a waiting room with coffee, exercise equipment and granite countertops for which customers eventually pay.
Patients can bill their insurance, and the office can accept checks or credit cards, but Hold said doing so takes away patients’ anonymity.
Hold became a chiropractor in 2008 after three years in the Marine Corps and 25 years in computer engineering. He’d had back problems from hiking, and a friend suggested seeing a chiropractor when muscle relaxants and traditional medicine didn’t work.
“I reluctantly went, and it changed my life — so much so that I changed careers,” Hold said.
While a student at Palmer Chiropractic College West in San Jose, Calif., he worked with the homeless, which is why he began his community outreach here.
Hold hopes to work with a youth rehabilitation business in town because recovery patients have a 25 percent better chance of getting through their first year with adjustments, and he’s also worked with Valparaiso’s women’s soccer league before games after a patient suggested it.